Today Sherrin turned 23!!
I was able to go to New Jersey last night and spend the day with her today! When I arrived yesterday, Sherrin was very quiet and looked exhausted. After I gave her a shower around 6:30 PM, she was beat. Sherrin’s two friends, Chryssi and Steven, came up yesterday as well. Though Sherrin perked up a bit when Chryssi and Steven walked through the door, she was still very quiet. We let her rest so that she could save her energy for today.
Sherrin’s swallowing is still a bit below average. It’s still very strong, but she’s having trouble swallowing harder foods, so eating birthday cake was not exactly an option. However, she is able to have a large plate of food provided by the hospital with different pureed options- something that I am very excited about! I always see the other patients at Kessler be served plates of food and it makes me sad because Sherrin still has a feeding tube hooked up to her stomach. But now she is able to eat small amounts of pureed food on top of getting nourishment through the tube.
My mom, Sherrin, and me started Sherrin’s birthday with opening presents and cutting Sherrin’s cake. Sherrin was able to eat a little bit of cake mixed with water and melted ice cream, but we mostly fed her whipped cream since it’s easier for her to swallow.
Sherrin seemed pretty sad for most of the day, unfortunately. She’s very aware of her situation and that makes her depressed- even more depressed today since she’s spending her birthday in a hospital. She didn’t speak much today, only after her speech therapist forced her voice out of her. I also believe that Sherrin is depressed because of the way she looks. Part of her occupational therapy is to look at a mirror for several minutes. I think she doesn’t really recognize herself since her eyes are a bit droopy, her skin is a few different colors of pink, and her hair is different.
For those of you that didn’t realize, Sherrin’s hair is mostly shaved off. Her top right side of her head was shaved initially from her accident in order to put a monitor in her brain, and the entire back side is shaved off because extremely large and painful knots kept forming. We were left no choice but to shave this part of her head since her head is normally pressed up against a pillow or her wheelchair (think of getting knots in your hair from laying in bed all day) and the knots kept pulling at her scalp. Only a small section of the top left of her head is still long so we keep this in a bun so that people don’t notice that her hair isn’t exactly even all over. Unfortunately now, my mom and I have notice that Sherrin is starting to bald at the front of scalp. We believe that this is a side effect from the constant medicine released into her body from the baclofen pump in her spine. From all of this, anyone could be depressed on how they look. I know I would be.
But, looks aren’t everything.
Sherrin’s arms are moving amazingly! She gave me fist-bumps throughout the day and she could stretch her elbows very far. She is also able to support herself better. She can sit up with only minimal assistance and her head is strongly support by her neck. Way to go, sis!
Sherrin really got excited and happy when Chryssi and Steven showed up today and decorated her room beautifully for her! They showered Sherrin with gorgeous presents, which had me a bit teary-eyed. Chryssi and Steven have visited Sherrin 3 times now and that makes me so appreciative and thankful for them. They are so dedicated to her. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for her!
Now, we are working on getting Sherrin home sometime later this year. My family is looking to get Sherrin a customized wheelchair and wheelchair van for her when she is finally out of the hospital. These two items will cost roughly $30,000, on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars my family is already paying for her hospital bills. If you want to give Sherrin an amazing birthday present, you can donate to Sherrin with a WePay account I set up. These donations will directly go towards Sherrin’s new wheelchair and wheelchair van. Please help my big sister come home! By the time she’s ready to come home, it will be a year and a half in the hospital. Any donation will help my family get something for Sherrin that she desperately needs. You can access the WePay account through the following link:
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Happy Birthday SherBear!!! We love you!